Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Free market U.S. government can't live with a little bit of competition from Bombardier

Passengers will be getting off Bombardier planes for good if they have to pay 200% extra thanks to a "Make Ammerica Great Again" ruling by the US.  
If there was still any willingness by fair minded observers to accept that competition was what so-called free market champions wanted, the U.S. Department of Commerce's recent imposition of a massive (+219%) trade levy on Canada's Bombardier should be the clincher []. Just so happens that Bombardier is in competition with Boeing for similar global contracts of course and that the current resident of the White House has vowed to "make America great again" by rigging markets to create more local jobs. And if boosting the supposedly free market economy takes a little bit of market manipulation and trade barriers then so be it, goes the logic of big power realpolitik. Will the neo-liberal fantasists in Canada's government, who want, they repeat, to "balance economic  growth and nice things like the environment and health and safety standards, be willing to fight their "free market" U.S. allies on this? For the record bleats from Justin Trudeau, Bill Morneau and Chrystia Freeland will have no effect on the ally (aka competitor) they now intend to renegotiate a "better NAFTA" with. That unregulated markets favour ultimately only the already wealthy will once again be demonstrated as any reader of the world's most prominent economic statistician, Thomas Piketty, already knows.Time for Canada to stand up for fair trade and social economy. We're not holding our breath.               

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

"Pull Out all the Stops to Win Amazon HQ bid" says Toronto mayor John Tory ...ignoring Amazon's predatory business history

Or that's what the Toronto Star copy editor made of whatever Tory actually  said in the paper's Sept.8 issue. Words like "gigantic" and "leverage" ripple through the article along with the page 2 headlined "predictability and stability" (identified as Toronto's urban strength). That predictability and stability are the last words one would use to describe the megalomaniacal CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and the contradiction between Amazon values and those that made Toronto once one of North America's most "livable" cities seems to have eluded the Star writers in their eagerness to be seen as city boosters in these continuing neo-liberal times. Predatory capitalism and livable cities do not a happy matrriage make, however many jobs the former promises (and rarely delivers). Better enterprise that promises less quantity and more quality for citizens.      

Monday, 11 September 2017

Think Before you "Skip the Dishes" - you may be missing more than "hard labour"

It's a long time ago when family dinners went the way of extinct species, in that distant past before kids worked several part-times to  pay for school so they can to get a "real job", and before parents worked several jobs to put enough food on the table to give their kids enough nutrition to do the  several part-time jobs they did to get the real job that school was supposed to get them. Those multiple clauses reflect pretty well the degree of displacement from source of the dish-skipping process. In summary let us just note that It would be a sad downer if all this dish-skipping led to no job, or less job than the ancient species of dish doers did.

In fact it's so long ago that most North Americans did daily dishes it's surprising how long it's taken for services like Skip the Dishes (cooked food direct to your door without the waste of the cerebral and physical energy required by dish-making)  to show up. The issue is not so  much the disintegration of the family dinner (and of course the family, nuclear or other, with it). Nor is it necessarily one of quality, though it's hard to imagine quality being maintained when the food making is "outsourced." Quality aka "whole" food is now available, even if the recently Amazon acquired Whole Foods is less and less likely to be the provider and not just because it's too  expensive for the great majority of workers.  

The issue is what is the full impact of dish skipping on the dish skippers. Underlying the whole topic of dish-skipping is, predictably, economics. Those forced to dish-skip by the scant jobmarket will inevitably be less well fed. Dish skipping services are targeting those who don't have the money for decent restaurant food and who, therefore will be paying for cheaper food they know little or nothing about. In other words dish-skipping services are another form of disenfranchisement for the already disenfranchised. When we don't make our cultures, whether its through language or art or food they no longer do what culture us supposed to do - make us a home in the universe. And homelessness of any kind is bad for all it afflicts. A challenge for the many progressive food services in TorontotheBetter's directory, none of which are dishskippers, is to make quality food a personal option. We invite our visitors to check TorontotheBetter food services and let us know who, you think, iis doing the best job of re-patriating food for people.     

Monday, 4 September 2017

This labour Day Polish workers show the way in the fight against Amazon

See this recent English post by solidarity NGO Razem [Together] about resistance by Amazon workers in Poland.[]. Amazon is living up to its name and by its recent acquisition of fellow corporate giant Whole Foods it's literally swallowing up opposition. Say no to Amazon's unhealthy appetite for domination  

Saturday, 2 September 2017

A test case for progressive enterprise - the affordable Montreal optician

Recently Philippe Rochette a renegade Montreal optician (seen below in the comfortable home his profession has brought him) has become well-known for doing something markets are supposed to do, charge the lowest price for the goods sold, one that provides a fair price/affordability for the target buyers while covering costs (with profit, of course...) for the sellers.That Rochette's price for eyeglasses is widely less (- 90%) than the norm for the industry should, then, according to the fantasy of market theory mean that eventually all  opticians will soon charge this lower price. Stay tuned to see if it happens. There are too many problems with the theory to list them all here, but to start with we might ask why opticians have been charging so much in the past.

Of course, it is because they could and that is because opticians as a group  were happy with their gross profits. Now that somebody has broken ranks we have a test case for progressive, if not exactly social, enterprise (price is only one factor,  and arguably a subsidiary one, among social business criteria). But at least Rochette has identified a gap - affordable eyewear - which has prompted TorontotheBetter to explore other gaps in our social enterprise environment in Toronto. To check our current coverage look under the TorontotheBetter Product/Services listing here - and email what you find out to We have several food and travel listings but is there a socially responsible security firm or hairdresser out there? If so, we don't know about them...yet, As for opticians, after Rochette, let them prove  to us the rationality of markets by lowering their prices en masse.